Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life recap: Episode 4, Fall
They came, they led, we followed -- and now, we say goodbye
PREVIOUS: Episode 3, “Summer”
I’ve been Gilmored. Thoroughly, exhaustively, perfectly Gilmored. I thought I knew how I was going to begin my recap of “Fall,” the conclusion to Gilmore Girls’ long-awaited four-part Netflix revival. I was deciding between summarizing Lorelai’s beautiful story about spending her 13th birthday with her father (RIP, Richard) or discussing Emily’s delightfully expanded vocabulary (I mean, she said “tits,” guys!). I even considered starting an investigation into whether the original series had given any clues about Luke’s supposed friendship with Kiefer Sutherland (that we just now heard about).
Either way, I felt pretty sure what my first words would be. But nope, I’m completely clueless, because those infamous Final Four Words effectively rendered me speechless. Like I said, I’ve been Gilmored. So, let’s just jump right into “Fall,” shall we? Because at this point, I really don’t know what else to do, and besides… Oy with the poodles already!
After the reveal in the final moments of “Summer” — when Lorelai announces to Luke she’s taking off for a few weeks to “do Wild” — we open on Lorelai in her hotel room, surveying the soon-to-be contents of her backpack and struggling to fit the necessities inside. She takes a quick break to leave a babbling voicemail for Luke and to catch an episode or two of Snapped on TV. Though Lorelai hasn’t quite moved on to murder yet, this was definitely a thinly-veiled attempt at demonstrating just how broken she’s feeling right now. Every Gilmore Girl fan knows Lorelai and Rory always ate terribly and never exercised — how they managed to stay thin, I’ll never know — and yet Lorelai is all of a sudden going to hike a portion of the Pacific Crest Trail? Please.
She wakes up the next morning to head out, only to be dissuaded from starting the hike by a park ranger portrayed by none other than Parenthood’s Jason Ritter (he played Mark Cyr, boyfriend to Sarah Braverman, alter ego of Lorelai/Lauren Graham).
Meanwhile, Rory’s unlocking the door to The Stars Hollow Gazette office, where she updates employees Esther and Joe (I think that’s his name) on plans for the next edition. Surprise — they’re going with a fall poem on the front cover! When she cues up her ancient computer, the words “Get Ready” appear on the screen; a few moments later, she sees “Kick up a rumpus” on a sign taped to Kirk’s pet pig as he runs down the street. (Um, is Rory hallucinating right now? Are “I’m going to die” going to be the final four words?)
RELATED VIDEO: The Cast of Gilmore Girls Discuss the Infamous Four Final Words of the Series
Jess pays a visit to an obviously flustered and confused Luke at his eerily quiet diner. (Every patron is busy on their computer.) Luke emerges from the back, completely covered in flour after breaking a bag of the pantry staple. Jess makes his uncle sit down for a break and asks him what’s going on. Luke tells his nephew about Lorelai leaving to do Wild and seeing a therapist before finally admitting he’s scared of losing her. Before Jess takes his own leave of Luke’s Diner, he rips out the Wi-Fi router and the customers scatter, with one mumbling “When are they gonna get a Starbucks?” If you’re talking about Stars Hollow, guy, I wouldn’t hold your breath.
We’re back to Lorelai, where the Wild-inspired hikers have broken off into groups depending on whether they read the book or watched the movie. I’m a tad surprised Lorelai’s part of the book group, to be honest, but c’est la vie. The movie chicks are watching Wild on a laptop (obviously) and the book ladies partake in some box wine and try to guess why Lorelai is about to embark on this journey. She’s not married or getting divorced, nor is she hooked on heroin or Vicodin. She’s mostly stuck standing still, she confesses, before saying “Boy, we’re gonna need another box.”
NEXT: “You jump, I jump, Jack”
Rory’s walking in Stars Hollow at night when she notices more freakish occurrences. A neon sign changes from “FLOWERS” to “TONIGHT,” and a stranger on a unicycle rides by while saying “By the pricking of my thumb, something wicked this way comes.” It all culminates in Rory seeing three mysterious figures standing in the street. “I’ll be damned,” she mutters before walking out to meet her callers, and that’s when I realize… The Life and Death Brigade’s in town for what’s sure to be an epic night!
Colin, Finn, Robert, and Logan roll into Stars Hollow to pay Rory a visit. The gang marches around town to the tune of “With a Little Help From My Friends,” hit golf balls off the roofs of town buildings, break into Doose’s Market for supplies (though they do leave money behind to pay for their goods), and watch Kirk’s short film before finding themselves at a tango club. After a bit of dancing, Rory and Logan sit behind a beaded curtain to talk, during which Logan offers Rory the use of his family’s house in Maine so she can write her book. She accepts the key, for now, and the group ends up at a New Hampshire inn (not before Colin buys the club to turn it into “all Rosemary Clooney, all the time,” because of course he does).
Though Logan rented Rory her own room, she opts to spend the night with him. Come morning, she’s looking longingly out the window when Logan wakes up and tells her to come back to bed. But alas, he has a noon flight back to London, where his fiancée Odette is most likely waiting for his return. (Yeah, as much as I appreciate her chemistry with Logan, I’m definitely disapproving of Rory’s affair with an engaged man. Didn’t she learn her lesson from the Dean fiasco back in seasons 4 and 5?) Rory returns the house key and bids goodbye to the Life and Death Brigade before she and Logan have their own sad farewell:
Rory: “I think your days of rescuing me are over.”
Logan: “You never needed rescuing, Ace. You know that.”
Rory: “I do now.”
And with that, he puts her hat from the night before back on her head, tenderly fixes her hair, and pretends to take a snapshot with his fingers as he says, “Yeah, just like that.” It’s surprisingly bittersweet, and though I’m #TeamJess all the way, I find myself wishing Logan would dump silly Odette (seriously, what kind of name is that?) and whisk Rory away. Sadly, that’s not what happens.
When we see Lorelai again, she’s duct-taped what couldn’t fit inside her pack to the outside and triumphantly marches over to that day’s park ranger. This time, it’s Peter Krause standing there, a.k.a. Sarah Braverman’s brother, Adam, and Graham’s real-life beau. She’s ready to hike, it seems, but can’t find her permit — and no amount of flirting or attempts at bribery will convince him to let her though without seeing said permit. A defeated Lorelai walks away and tries to find some coffee, but the Halfway House Café is locked. “I hate nature,” she FINALLY admits, to no one but herself.
She walks up a small hill and is instantly surrounded by beautiful scenery. That’s when she pulls out her phone to call her mom and tell the real Richard story she should have shared after the funeral. I’m bawling and can barely see the screen, but essentially, Lorelai’s father showed up for her in a big way back on her 13th birthday, and while the two never spoke of it again, it was the best birthday she ever had. Emily, clearly moved by this bit of history, says thank you — and with that, Lorelai leaves her backpack outside a Dumpster and goes running home to Luke, where she belongs.
But we’re not done crying yet, because when she gets there, Luke’s blowing off a steak he’s cooking for her beloved Paul Anka (so he can eat it sooner, duh). Upon seeing Lorelai, Luke thinks she’s going to leave him, and begs her not to in a stunning monologue usually reserved for the likes of Gilmores only. He says things like “This, right here, is all I will ever need,” and “There is no one who will be more here for you than me,” and “You need the space [referring to their closet] and I need you. Goddammit Lorelai, we have been through too much. You can’t leave, you just can’t leave!”
I’m actually laugh-crying because this, right here, is why I fell in love with Gilmore Girls in the first place. Anyway, once Luke finishes, Lorelai calmly tells him they should get married. “We’ve waited way too long. I already picked a date,” she says, and Luke goes to get the old ring he bought her when they first got engaged all those years ago. Somehow, Lorelai being the one to re-propose (in a way) is perfect, since she was the one who originally asked Luke in the diner in season 5’s finale.
NEXT: This is exactly where Rory should write
We pick back up with Emily, who’s vacationing in Nantucket with Jack. I’m still not on board with this relationship, either, and it seems Emily might agree: When Jack says he has to go back to Hartford, she’s all too happy to send him on his way. She then visits the Nantucket Whaling Museum by herself and seems to fall in love with the place. We also hear her leaving a voicemail for Rory, telling her the house is empty and free for her to use.
When Rory walks through the home, she sees a scene from the original series: It’s Friday night dinner, and Richard’s there at the head of the table. We also hear a line from “Love and War and Snow,” the memorable season 1 episode in which Rory made her grandparents frozen pizza (a big hit!). Rory ends up in her grandfather’s study, where she begins writing her book about her relationship with her mom.
And just like that, we’re back at the Dragonfly, where Lorelai and Michel are interviewing the latter’s replacement. Unsurprisingly, Michel is completely unhappy with every candidate, as he knows (as well as we do!) that no one can fill his shoes. Lorelai knows it, too, which is why she goes inside a retirement home in town when she sees it’s for sale. She’s finally moving on with her plans to expand the Dragonfly, which are cemented a little later on when she asks her mom for the money to buy the property. Although Richard left money for Luke to expand his diner business, Lorelai wants to use those funds to expand the inn. It’s a way to honor her father without forcing Luke into doing something he doesn’t want to do… and it’s perfect.
At a table full of Chinese food, Pop-Tarts, Twizzlers, coffee, and ice cream — a feast fit for a Gilmore — Rory and Lorelai make amends after their argument over Rory’s book idea in “Summer.” While at her grandparents’ home, the first three chapters came flying out of her. “Nothing I’ve ever written has been this easy,” she tells her mom before asking her to read what she’s come up with so far. If Lorelai still thinks it’s a bad idea or too invasive, Rory won’t finish it. (I’m fully expecting Lorelai to give Rory her blessing, which, of course, she later does — with just one note: drop “The” and just go with Gilmore Girls. It’s cleaner, she says.)
I could write a whole recap on Emily’s long-overdue outburst at a dreadfully boring meeting of the DAR, during which the ladies in charge are interviewing a prospective new member. Suffice it to say it’s hilarious: Emily says “bulls—” a bunch of times and points out the trophy-wife applicant’s big hair and big tits. (My mouth literally dropped open at this point.) She’s not too hurt when her now-former friends tell her she’s out; instead, she sadly says, “This whole thing is dead to me anyhow. It died with Richard.”
Though I didn’t realize it at the time, Rory’s discussion with dad Christopher (does this guy age at all? I’m totally #TeamLuke, but David Sutcliffe is lookin’ GOOD) absolutely foreshadows the reveal of those Final Four Words. She tells him about her book and after he gives his blessing to be included, she pushes him to admit how he felt about Lorelai raising her alone. It seems like something Rory would have talked to him about ages ago, but it made sense once I reached the episode’s end.
Everything seems to move really fast from here on out, so this recap will follow suit: Emily’s selling the family home and moving to Nantucket, where she bought the place she and Richard used to rent on vacation. She says the word “vagina,” for some reason, and I find myself welling up with tears as I realize Emily has finally found a maid who’s up to snuff (and one — dare I say? — she loves). Ever the negotiator, she agrees to give Lorelai the money to expand the Dragonfly if Lorelai agrees to bring Luke to Nantucket for two weeks every summer and one week at Christmas. It’s the perfect callback to the pilot, when Lorelai first asks her parents for money to pay for Rory’s schooling. The entire series wouldn’t have happened without that ask.
Two quick visits from Dean (married with three kids and another on the way!) and Sookie (she’s still a klutz in the kitchen, but man, can she decorate a cake or what?!), we see Emily once more as she gives tours at the Nantucket Whaling Museum and delightfully shares the brutal details of whale hunting to the parents and kids in attendance. I wouldn’t expect anything less of Emily Gilmore, really.
NEXT: The “I Do’s” we’ve been waiting for
Once Lorelai gives Rory the okay to finish the book, Rory excitedly shows Jess (who gave her the idea in the first place) the first three chapters. Luke witnesses the exchange and asks his nephew if he’s “over that.” Though Jess says “way over,” he then watches Rory through the window for a moment, and methinks he might not be as over Rory as he says. (Not gonna lie, my heart races as I foolishly think there’s hope for my favorite Gilmore couple. Then I notice there’s only a few minutes left in the episode, and I realize closure in Rory’s love life is not something Amy Sherman-Palladino will be blessing us with… yet.)
Lorelai and Luke are sitting at their kitchen table, comparing notes on their surprise flash mobs they’ve planned for each other (Luke Danes in a flash mob? Yeah, right!), when Lorelai says “Reverend Skinner’s up awfully late on Bingo night.” And with that, she wakes up Rory for an impromptu ceremony in the town square’s gazebo. Kirk, who earlier thought he had ruined the décor, decorated everything in twinkle lights and flower petals, and it’s absolutely gorgeous and perfect. Luke and Lorelai waltz, another flawless callback to their season 4 dance at Liz and TJ’s wedding. (The entire scene is set to Sam Phillips’ “Reflecting Light,” the same song that was playing at the newlyweds’ first dance before they were a couple. Squeee!)
Though I’m a little sad Emily’s not there for these nuptials (Luke and Lorelai plan to do it again later that day, at the originally planned ceremony), it feels right to see the two finally marry after the will-they-won’t-they drama of the original series. Lorelai herself says as much: “It feels right. It was such a long time getting here… Sometimes it’s the journey, you know?”
Yeah, Rory knows. After getting a breakup text from Paul (I had seriously forgotten about him by this point, and clearly so had she) and a bit of chitchat with her mom about her love life, she opens her mouth to utter the first of those Final Four Words:
Rory: “I’m pregnant.”
Lorelai turns to face her daughter, and the screen cuts to black.
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That’s it, folks. Rory doesn’t “end up” with anybody. We’re not even sure who the father of her baby is, though I assume it’s Logan. (It better not be the boring and forgettable Paul!) While it seems Emily’s at peace and we certainly got closure with Luke and Lorelai, we’re left with more questions about Rory than what we started with. Is her book a success? Does she publish it with Jess’ company? If Logan is the father, does she tell him about the baby? Does he leave Odette to marry Rory, or does she raise (what’s hopefully a girl) on her own, as Lorelai did?
So many questions and so little answers. There’s really only one thing left to do: Bring back Gilmore Girls for a few more episodes! Let’s start a petition to Netflix, shall we?
Episode grade: B